A New York lawmaker on Friday became the fifth House Democrat to call on Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to resign due to health concerns.
“If you’re a member, and you become a shadow of your former self, you should resign,” Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) told Insider, in reference to Feinstein. “Once you’re no longer the best person to represent your state, you have a duty to move on.”
The Bronx lawmaker joins Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) in calling for the 89-year-old senator’s resignation.
Feinstein, who announced earlier this year that she will not seek re-election in 2024, returned to the Senate just over weeks ago after spending nearly three months away from Washington, DC, recovering from a bout of shingles and other health issues.
Last week, a source close to the senator described her current condition to the New York Times as “frightening.”
Feinstein reportedly developed encephalitis – a swelling of the brain that can cause memory problems, increased confusion and trouble walking, among other things – during her shingles recovery.
The six-term Feinstein, who is the oldest member of the Senate, has been using a wheelchair to get around the Capitol and has given confused answers to questions about her absence.
When confronted by reporters shortly after her DC return, Feinstein insisted that she had not left Congress to recover from the illness and had instead been voting the whole time.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Feinstein is now being shielded from interacting with reporters and photographers on Capitol Hill by aides and the Senate sergeant-at-arms.
Her office said in a statement upon her return that her doctors have recommended she keep a “light schedule” as she continues to recover.
If Feinstein does step down, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom would be tasked with appointing her replacement, who would finish her term.